In August 2001, an almost unbearable summer was still underway. Texas in the summer is miserable with hot sticky heat waves that seem to go on and on with a relentless determination to keep the thermometer over 100 degrees for days and days. This particular August had been difficult for me. The heat seemed to intensify as I mourned the loss of one of my favorite cats, Bentley, who had gone missing in June. He had slipped out the back door one morning and I did not pursue him because I had hardly slept the night before due to a migraine headache that would not let up- even with strong medication. Bentley had never left the yard, always preferring to lounge under one of my husband’s trucks. So after he ran from the house I told myself that he would not go far and so I retreated back to bed where I stayed almost the entire day. I forgot about Bentley being outside and when I suddenly remembered at 10 o’clock, that he was still out, I began to call for him fully expecting that he would come to the door at break neck speed- happy to be going inside. But on this night Bentley did not appear. I was immediately worried and horrified for fear that he was not coming back. My fears became real by the next morning when he did not appear. In the days that followed, I drove around many neighborhoods putting up posters and running ads in the newspaper for at least 5-6 months. Bentley was never found and to this day I think of all the terrible things that could have caused his demise. Years later I still feel guilty because I forgot that he was outside. In the past I had not ever let a cat remain outdoors and to this day I can not comprehend why I was so lax and careless. Our home is in a semi-wood area with deep ravines about a block away. Coyotes might have eaten him and many other bad things could have taken his life. Losing Bentley impacted my summer in a way that I could not have imagined.
By mid July, I had spoken with a prominent neighborhood couple, who owned a corner plot of land that was a perfect stetting for a large sign that I had envisioned to advertise my lost cat. A large sign would display a reward of 500 hundred (yes, $500) and a description of my cat. The corner is a well traveled road and I thought the spot would be the perfect place for my lost cat sign. I believed that a large reward would be an enticement for people to pay attention stray cats or if someone had him, then they hopefully would return him to me.
Of course, I had to find someone to make my sign but finding a sign maker that I could afford proved to be a difficult task. I spoke with no less that 5-7 men before someone told me about a man in a small town that was about 12 miles from the city. I spoke with him on the phone and made an appointment to bring my cat’s photo and the information that would be printed on a large piece of sign board that I would furnish. In a few days I met with the man who seemed interested, however, he could not give me a definite price. I left the sign maker with a photo of Bentley, my name and also my phone number. My other obstacle was to locate a carpenter who could make a brace for the back of the sign. The brace would stabilize the sign by keeping it upright and in place. I obtained the sign board from the only store in our city that had what I needed.
To be continued: Look for Part II of “The Foundlings Four”.
Post and photographs: Yvonne